Court says jail authorities responsible if Sanjeev Khanna’s health condition worsens

Calling it a “serious matter,” special judge Jayendra C Jagdale said that if Khanna's condition worsens, the entire responsibility will lie on jail authorities.

A SPECIAL court has rapped Arthur Road Jail authorities for not allowing Sanjeev Khanna, an accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, avail medical treatment since 2018 despite court orders.

Calling it a “serious matter,” special judge Jayendra C Jagdale said that if Khanna’s condition worsens, the entire responsibility will lie on jail authorities.

Khanna, the former husband of INX Media co-founder Indrani Mukerjea, has been lodged at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai since 2015. In 2018, he had approached the special court stating that he is suffering from an eye infection, which has hampered his vision. He was advised by a doctor from state-run JJ hospital that he should get his eyes checked every six months.

But he told the court that he had not been taken to the hospital for a check-up since April 2018. He also said that he requires medical attention for a lump on his lower back near the spine. “Upon perusing of the application and medical reports of the accused, it appears that he requires urgent medical help. Hence, this court has passed an order dated (February 26) directing the jail authorities to send him to Sir JJ hospital for medical treatment. Despite said directions given to jail authorities, the applicant/accused is not yet given proper medical help. This is a very serious matter,” the court said.

It directed that Khanna be taken to JJ hospital immediately. The court also said the superintendent of Arthur Road jail has to ensure that proper medical help is given to him and a report is submitted before the court.

“This medical ailment may (be) fatal to the applicant/accused. It has to be remembered that if his sickness worsen, then the entire responsibility will lie on the Jail Authorities,” the court said.

In his earlier plea filed in February, Khanna had said that due to not being given treatment, his condition had worsened and he had not been able to read papers, documents without causing immense strain. Khanna’s lawyer Shreyansh Mithare said that he had sought directions to be given to the Director General (prisons) as the jail authorities had not taken him to the hospital despite court’s previous orders.

In June, Khanna had sought interim bail for 45 days in view of the state government’s high-powered committee’s recommendations to decongest prisons due to the pandemic. The plea was rejected. The trial in the case is underway with over 70 witnesses having deposed so far.

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